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When Should You See a Professional About Hearing Loss?

a sea shell held to an ear

Hearing loss can come on gradually or suddenly, which can make it challenging to identify if you aren’t aware of the symptoms. The most common signs of hearing loss include asking others to repeat themselves frequently, hearing mumbling when talking on the phone, turning up the volume on the television and difficulty hearing women and children.

If you, or someone in your life notices you are developing these symptoms, it may be a good idea to visit a hearing care professional. These professionals will help you better understand hearing loss and what can be done to combat or treat it.

Causes of hearing loss

There are many causes of hearing loss. Remember, you can experience this at any age, but in most cases, children are the ones affected. These may include:

  • Scalp fracture caused by a blunt head trauma
  • Toxins, especially from a drug overdose
  • Infections at birth
  • Hereditary causes
  • Aging: Older people experience hearing loss

Types of hearing loss

There are several types of hearing loss that can develop, each with different causes and treatments. These include:

  • Conductive hearing loss: One may experience hearing loss when sounds don't get through the outer and middle ear. You may not hear soft sounds, and on the other hand, louder sounds may be muted.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: This type of hearing disorder happens when the inner ear is impaired. Another reason for sensorineural hearing loss is damaged nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain.
  • Mixed hearing loss: A mixed hearing loss is a blend of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. In this case, the outer middle and inner ear are affected.

When should you see a professional about hearing loss?

Having looked at the causes of hearing loss, it reaches a point where you should seek help to manage the condition. Some symptoms to look out for include:                         

  • Fever in both children and adults is a clear indication all is not swell
  • General body weakness
  • Strained hearing
  • Discharge oozing from the ear
  • Pressure or pudginess inside the ear
  • Itching and irritation in and out of the ear
  • Dry, scaly skin around the ear
  • Aching in the ear

Hearing aids

After the professional examination, you can get recommendations for hearing aids such as behind the ear, in the canal and in the ear. Here are what they are:

  • Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid: BTE is a hearing aid installed behind the ear with the hearing aid hooks over the ear. The tubes connect the hearing aid to the earpiece, also called the earmold that fits the ear canal.
  • In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aid: They are custom-made hearing aids made according to the impression taken from your ear canal. These devices are incredibly discreet and offer a natural listening experience.
  • In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids: ITE hearing aids are another common option for treating hearing loss. They are worn in the outer ear bowl and come in shades that match skin and hair tones. 

It's good to visit a hearing healthcare professional occasionally to have your ears checked. These checkups will help you keep your ears healthy and reduce the number of people with hearing loss in the world.